It was a Blast

3 Dec

My youngest son has been working as an audio engineer for a little over a year now. Recently a studio hired him to be the audio engineer for a product advertisement for a major retail store head quartered in Toronto Ontario Canada. In the hiring process, it seems that the producers were a bit shy on real life people to film while using their new tool line.
They asked my son if anyone around him would mind trying out the tools and willing to be filmed doing it. Of course, there would be some required questions pertaining to the tools themselves while speaking on camera. As my sons and I are constantly renovating, and using tools are not really in short supply, he tentatively volunteered me to be one of their candidates.
Of course talking at length has never been an issue for me so when my son approached me, I was only too glad to oblige. The fact that it was a good paying job for him only made it that much more satisfying. The opportunity to work with him professionally in his new career was equally most satisfying.
The filming day started around ten am with my outlining for the producers, the jobs that I had lined up, which could best demonstrate their tools. The camera and audio equipment was set up, and ready to roll. My son outfitted me with an additional body microphone, not that I have a soft voice by any means.
They directed me from which angle they would be filming and what they expected me to do. I executed each task as needed. A question period then followed to describe my opinions for the tool’s performance. With what I thought was only a few retakes, to make sure they had enough footage and dialog to cut and splice as needed later, we moved on to the next task.
By five o’clock, we completed as many task as possible and all the equipment was broken down in the unmistakable fashion of the movie industry, quickly. Everybody appeared pleased with my performance but you know show biz……”Oh we loved you” ……”you did great” …. “Of course we will call you later” ……only never to be heard from again. Ha ha ha
Well no matter. I hope that they do call but frankly, I won’t wait by the phone or lose sleep over it. Certainly I won’t be quitting my day job just yet…..ha ha ha, Never mind starting to look for an agent, even funnier.
All and all it was a memorable day, which I hope can be repeated again some time. Oh, they did eventually call, well in today’s format, it was an email. It wasn’t to offer me a contract, tears running down my cheeks, but to give me the link where I could view my performance.
Hit the play button and judge for yourself how I did.

Senators What Good Are They?

26 Oct

For quite some time now, we in Canada have been subjected to bickering within the Parliamentary House of Commons about questionable expenditures for some senators …..
Anyone who has a job, with expense reports, KNOWS that many, expenditures, become questionable and subject to interpretation. It is always resolved with a quick nod from some superior, yay or nay, final. This issue for “me” whether the expense in question, is legitimate or not is of no real consequence.
I offer to my fellow Canadians that the question that the opposition SHOULD be asking and debating is the whole Senate expense. Of course, we have no fears that this issue will ever be tabled since most Canadians already know that the Senate is NOTHING more than a retirement home for party faithful. It does not really matter which political party is in power since one of the first functions they do, once elected, is to fill whatever vacant seats available with one of their own cronies. Of course, seat availability only comes upon a previous member’s death. Therefore, to hope that our parliamentarians will ever discuss the abolition of the Senate is not likely since it forms in truth part of their retirement package.
It is not like as Senators; they ever have to report to work to be paid, so in that view what is the difference if we pay for questionable logging expense for Senators. We are paying for Senators who have not reported to work, may as well pay for logging that they did not use. Amazingly, NO one in Parliament is questioning his or her absence. They do not even have to use up a sick day, or vacation day, personal family day or anything; they just do not need to be there. What about that? THAT tells me that they DO nothing, period end of sentence.
I am always amazed at how the opposition stand up in the House of Commons and put banal questions to the Premier or other Parliamentarians who sit across from them with a straight face as if they have asked a question with life changing consequences. It really is too bad that our system is structured in such a way that the opposition, which is supposed to perform a job, to ensure that the elected government stays on track, but in actuality they are only there trying to “get” a job.
If we did away with party lines and let each elected official stand on his or her own merit perhaps, our country could achieve some form of greatness. Then maybe each member could bring forward novel ideas on how to best run our country without being forced to keep mum for fear that someone other than the leading party provides the required forward movement. Or that everybody must be subjected to endless benign questions on who came in late and or who did not pay their share of the lunch ticket.
Any Canadian looking in on our elected officials on CPAC has to be totally, embarrassed with the performance. I know I am. I see them pounding on their desk hooting and hollering at one another, creating whatever kind of disturbance they can, to drown out anything said that they do not agree with. If they were children, even though they behave like children, no one ever gives them a time out or ask them to vacate the room until they grow up and learn how to behave. If ANY one of us did what I see in Parliament, at our place of employment, I know I would find myself in the unemployment line looking for a new job. Not to mention the sore butt from the boot that got me out the door.
Our government should be there to stimulate our economy, protect our borders, and educate our populous. They should be there to assist us all to achieve new heights, not create red tape to hamper new ideas. We are in a global economy where speed of action makes the difference between a successful endeavor and a stagnant pool. Instead, we waste our energy bickering about who got the bigger piece of pie, or who is mommy and daddy’s favorite. In the meantime, the rest of the planet looks on eating that pie.
The present Senate goings on, to me, only proves that it is time to rid ourselves of the deadwood. Let us forget whether the accommodation expense was legitimate or not. Sign the expense form, pay the bill, then let us make sure that it NEVER happens again.
The only SURE way to ensure that, is to ELIMINATE the “SENATE expense”….Lord knows we have been paying THAT expense without question, and that, since its creation. The sad part is we never receive any return on our investment for it.
Any business savvy person would tell you …….. CUT IT LOOSE.

When did we loose OUR Responsibility?

23 Oct

A few days ago I was out working with the assistance of my two sons. Having put in a full day replacing a rather large living room picture window I took the two of them to a local truck stop to get them something to eat on our way home.
Similar to many areas at this time of year the establishment was undergoing some changes, which required major roadside upgrade as well. After some missed turns due to regular entry road blocks, from the construction, we found the new entry point and made our way to a convenient parking spot.
As we negotiated the new entry, we noticed a group of people gathered around one individual on the ground in the middle of the road just a little further from where we entered. Of course, our attention was, focused on the gathering and we determined that somehow a motorcyclist had met with some demise. We could not see that any other vehicle seemed to be involved with the mishap, whatever it was.
Everything certainly seemed to be well in hand and no one seemed to be frantically running around trying to martial any kind of assistance. No official vehicles, of any kind was yet visible but with the calmness that seemed to prevail around the group we determined that everything was well in hand. So we continued on our trek to the restaurant section.
Once inside we could easily overhear the buzz between the restaurant servers. It seemed that some, woman, on a motorcycle had taken a fall upon exiting the parking lot. A local resident nurse happen to be in the restaurant at the time of the incident and she was on the scene to lend whatever services she could while they awaited the 911 response team.
Now what strikes me as a jurisdictional nonsense is that it appeared that the federal RCMP police station which was only literally maybe 1500 feet away and the fire station perhaps only another ¼ mile further with paramedics could not respond to the 911 call as the establishment rest on the very edge of the county line. As a result, the group needed to wait for the support resources located perhaps some eight to ten miles in the opposite direction.
Well naturally all three of us shook our heads in disgust and once again accepted the governmental jurisdictional disorganization and red tape nonsense. We three get into these, discussion quite often as you might guess. We completed our meal with a continued bantering on government issues and proceeded to return to our vehicle. Naturally, one of the boys needed to use the facilities before hitting the road so myself and my other son, continued to the truck to await his return.
He returned to the truck but not without further information from the traffic mishap. It seemed that while he was at the counter getting some desert chocolate bars for all of us, the police who had now been on the scene was finalizing his report inside. He was apparently issuing a citation to the manager as responsible agent for the motorcycle incident, which had occurred moments before as the lady was exiting his property on her motorcycle. She had lost control and caused herself an unpleasant incident. No medical details had been overheard.
It seems that the manager had failed to provide a “sign” to indicate that caution was required, due to uneven road surfaces. It was, pointed out that, there was a sign visible coming “into” the property but, no sign was provided for the exiting public.
Now I ask you, at what point does anyone looses their faculty so as to be unaware that the road exiting a property is likely to be any less bumpy or under construction than at the time that they entered only some short time prior. It is the same patch of ground that must be used to come in as it is to exit. There is no divisional barrier between entry and exit. Just one patch, of dirt, maybe fifty feet across services both vehicles entering and exiting the premises. The place is under construction people. The work did not get completed within the hour or two that this driver was on the property. That of course is assuming that they did not just get gas for their bike, but also purchased food as well.
Why, is it the manager’s responsibility, that this, women fell? Could it be that the motorbike, is perhaps too large for this particular women? Where is her responsibility to “see” or be aware that construction is ongoing and that perhaps she needed to handle her balancing act a little more precariously for the environment. She had to be aware of the construction when she drove in! Can it be that perhaps, she had been riding too long, and might have been too tired to manhandle the rather large bike, on the loose gravel? Nor is my irritation because I dislike motorbike; I used to drive one myself.
No, I suggest to you that a citation issued to management is nothing more than lawyer driven regulations which serves only to remove our individual responsibilities and allows it to be borne by anyone one but ourselves. The woman in this case, lost control of her bike, end of sentence. How experienced is she? Maybe she should not be driving one at all. Even if a sign, had been raised and whether visible from the exit or not, the outcome would have been the same. Why, are the police chastising the manager and the establishment? Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely not against the police officer. I respect their work and certainly do not envy their task. They can only enforce the law as it is written.
More and more no matter what the incident or the situations people no longer feel that they need to be responsible for their action. We always want to lay blame on someone else for not protecting us. It seems to me that people no longer feel the need to look out for their own safety and society is helping them to morally, absolve them.

eReaders Cases

26 May

Well I have not been as diligent in writing in my blog as I had hoped to be at the start of the New Year. However, I am working on some other writing projects which I prefer to keep to myself, for now. I am presently in Brasil working out at sea, so for those that think ooh la la…Brasil don’t I wish I could go there……
Well I wish you all could visit the country as well. What I have seen of the country, which is very little, I find very lovely and the people quite accommodating. I still would love to see the Amazon River and tropical forest. Maybe someday, that will happen for me! Unless you speak Portuguese that can be a bit of a barrier but if you have some adventurous blood in you, it is manageable. Make a game of it and try to learn a word a day. I suppose that may be more applicable to people such as myself since I can spend months here working with the Brasilians, both onshore and out at sea.
For you perhaps a few classes in Portuguese would not be too far wrong either. Many of the businesses have English, speaking people at the counters. Certainly, in the major cities, this is true but further out is a different story. There is a large movement for kids or people to learn English. The country realizes that in a developmental situation the world is much more accommodating if you can speak English and this they advertise on large billboards “that with good English you will get a better job.”
Anyway, today was not really to talk about Brasil but I wanted to post something that I have already spoken about and a link can be found in my earlier postings. My eBook reader case has proven very successful in keeping my reader safe from damage while travelling and at work. It has also, as I suspected would happen, confused everyone in thinking that it is just a book when it is on the desk. They have ALL been surprised when I open it and out come an electronic eReader.
Many have expressed a desire to have their own and for that, I advised them to visit my blog where they will find the instructions. I was sure that I had included it earlier in my “Articles” for easy retrieval but since being here, I checked and found it was missing. So today, I made sure that if you simply go to my “Articles” under General headings you will find the article and the link, which will let you print a copy of to how to build an eReaderCase.
Hope you enjoy it

Work practices

9 May

During our career’s lifetime how often do we perform tasks that we learned so long ago that we forget that it might have taken us a long time to learn it. Now perhaps many years later, we do it in our sleep and forget many of the nuances of performing that task.
Some of the things that we may have learned might have been physical manipulation with our hands or our tools. Maybe it was how to hold your hands in a certain position. Maybe it’s, how to grasp a specific tool. Steps to best perform a task, safely and accurately. Maybe we forget much of the theory behind the task. Theory, that in the beginning we tortured or minds as to why we were having such difficulties. Things that in the beginning appeared almost impossible. Now that we know why, it seems second nature. When it does not work for us today, we instinctively shift the work, our grasp or simply adjust the tool or the method to compensate for the problem we are experiencing.
When we observe others, perhaps younger than ourselves, we forget that we too once upon a time had to be shown. Those that need help equally do not have to be younger for many have learned to do things on the go and perhaps somewhat adequately to get them by. We can find those as well who perform tasks with adroitness but do not understand why it works. They just know how to do it.
However with all that said the learning curve could be substantially reduced, if one understands the theory behind the task. One such task that I have encountered over the years is soldering. Therefore with hopes that those that wish a brief description of some of the theory behind soldering will Keep it Together-2 or download my article “Soldering” under my technical Category.

Lateral thinking

1 May

Well with apologizes I must say that it has been sometime since I wrote anything or should I say posted anything. It’s not that I have not been thinking but more that I felt that much of it either did not apply to a blog per say. But then what does apply to a blog? Well I suppose Anything really. I am starting to start as well that the more I write the more critical I become and the more I internally try to justify what I might say. Dare I think that these thoughts are one of a writer?….HA HA that is certainly not a term that I would ever have applied to myself. However my next question would be but why not? By definition anyone that puts words to paper or in these days to screen can by definition call himself or herself a writer.
The point I suppose that stops people from applying the term to themselves might be, “I am not a GOOD writer?”…..Many and certainly, published writers that I have followed would say that the question is unimportant. The important point is that you DO write, and with that effort you may become better than you were yesterday and certainly superior today if you do write.
Over the years I have found that the more I put pen to paper to itemize steps required to perform given tasks the easier it becomes and the more I understand things myself. I have always enjoyed a good philosophical discussions. I believe that I equally enjoy hearing what other people think although I’m sure many might argue that point….sad and disappointing if true.
Recently I got involved in one of those discussion at work which even though I thought I had the question answered long ago, caused me to re-assess my viewpoint. My analysis of that dialog can be found in my Articles above. Sound


11 Mar

Ok not a subject matter I ever care to breach because you can’t win. If you happen to disagree with a published newspaper article, on prejudice then you will likely be branded prejudiced yourself. But if you remain silent then I think prejudice wins. It is a two way street. Recently I read an article in a local community week-end paper where the reporter discussed the matter with a local pastor. He asked her if things had changed over the years and of course she indicated that very little had. Some small inroads had been achieved but no major community changes had been experienced. The article went on about some of the local injustices which had occurred in the past and quite frankly it’s all long before my time here in Nova Scotia.
I have travelled in many countries over the years and worked side by side with MANY nationalities, religions, and people of color, and with each one I was offered the same common respect as I offered them. However equally in every instant they demanded nothing from me other than respect. Working and helping peoples as equals I have no problems with.
However most articles I read, or road signs I see, or decreed holiday I hear of, are I believe for the most part a one sided cry.
They make me feel as if they are prejudiced against me. I of course am Caucasian, (oh God there it is, it’s out) but I am not prejudiced against anyone no matter how much you try and make me feel that I am. I don’t however agree with all of the propaganda. I have no special centers, or declared United Nations day, I get no special treatment from any government agency and certainly get nothing but bad publicity as an oppressor in the press.
However for me there is one glimmer of light in all of this and that is when I think back a few years when by chance I happen to channel surf and fell on a reception which Bill Cosby was speaking. I always liked Bill so I decided to listen in a little longer. The event was the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the Brown vs Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court Decision (1) (2)
Dr. Bill Cosby was one of the guest speakers. Interestingly he was subsequently severely chastised for what he said immediately following the event by some of the black communities. It became known as Bill Cosby’s Pound Cake Speech. Today if you Google the event you will find many discussions regarding what he said with most agreeing with the comments, well for the most parts. I certainly do not wish to analyze Mr. Cosby’s speech here but I do find very few references to it in public conversations or newspaper articles, or when prejudices are being declared.
For many years I have said that prejudice in the media will ALWAYS be there as long as people are treated differently. Until society starts to accept that you get (everyone) what you work for NOT for what you are given whether directly or as preferential treatment. You can never satisfy both sides of the equation’s equal sign. In mathematics you cannot transpose part of the expression from one side of the equal sign to the other, without doing the same to both sides. Prejudice is the same or at least similar. What one group receives the others also must receive. However in life there are non mathematical considerations. That consideration is one of perception. If one side perceives that someone is getting the same as they are but without the same effort put forward, then the equation will never balance.
I can stand up for social prejudice as I encounter it. I can speak up where someone might be being bullied or talked down too because of their linguistic accent or derogatory remarks because of their looks, or religious belief, but when it comes to cultural prejudice I’m afraid no matter what I say or do unless I am being subservient it will not appease them. That prejudice is cultural baggage. That prejudice, is internal to that part of the culture and themselves, and it’s a one way view. “If you do not see life or things my way it’s because you are being prejudiced against me”. It seems to me that no matter what, “I”… as a Caucasian am being blamed for things I have not done just because of MY color. In most cases the accusations by the people crying out the injustices have not been submitted to it themselves. My suitcase will never be big enough to store all that baggage.
Groups and cultures can petition any government for whatever compensation they desire but no government edict can magically evaporate prejudices. In fact the more it is catered to, the more likely the gap will widen.
In the end we must all work for what we want and only then can we truly OWN what we receive.
It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.

Governments and Social Nets

4 Mar

Recently in Canada our governing party has instituted changes to the unemployment insurance. Changes that make it more difficult for people to “stay” on it and consequently must look harder for alternate means to provide for themselves. Unemployment insurance was instituted as a short term measure to help people bridge the gap between being laid off for one reason or another and finding new employment.
As many things it has been corrupted both by individual claims, employer mis-direction, and raining government wishing to keep the popular vote. People have created this belief that because they pay into it while working that they are entitled to ALL of it back when their situation changes. They take a seasonal lay-off or economic downturn as a time to take it easy and coast till the next season or wait out the economy. They believe that company lay-off are mostly temporary and all that one has to do is survive till they start hiring again. They never take the road that I best find new employment soon or I do not eat. You overhear them talking about it all the time in public places…. “ laid off again but I’m not too worried for now,… I have 18months or 12months (or whatever length) before my UI runs out…..”
The government is really no better, for they play into many businesse’s hand and as they do not want to come across as the bad guy and have changed in the past the rules to make it easier to stay on government assistance. Never mind that some of the businesses have been mismanaged and that is the reason for closures not economic downturns. Of course it’ easier to deflect that fact if one blames the economy rather than face the music of mismanagement.
Of course the government, for their part often supply additional funds to try and sustain the business and therefore the jobs that they provide, and the business elite know this and play to it, well who wouldn’t? If the business is not a viable business no amount of government money can create the need that the business is catering to. This fact matters none since the government appears to be trying to assist its people, makes them look good, and the board of directors get additional funds which in most cases they never have to pay back so they can continue their bonuses while the business continues to be driven into the ground. Even when government attaches a repayment clause those are most often tied to the “business” entity NOT the CEO or company directors. So after the business is once again driven into the ground the board of directors simply file for bankruptcy, and guess what our government get’s to write that off as “bad” debt.
Of course the opposition of course get their kick at the cat by blaming the present raining party for letting the business go down the tubes. Never mind that often the opposition set up the original subsidies. I only hope that today’s social networking will help to get people talking amongst themselves and demand more from their government. Make them answerable for their behaviors and decisions, including the opposition. If they started the mess don’t sugar coat it and try to blame all of it on the present ruling party. Take their pill and admit that “they” made a bad decision in the past when they were in power and today this is the mess that we must deal with.
Download my latest article and maybe you might find something to agree with and perhaps talk to your member of parliament. Hold him or her accountable, regardless to which party affiliation he or she may be with. All members have a job to do and it’s not to play “the Blame Game”

Blogging a year later

27 Jan

Well it’s been near enough a year since I first started to blog in earnest. How has that worked for me? I must say I am quite satisfied of my achievements as a first go around. As in all things there is much more to learn and to paraphrase motivational speakers Mr. Don Tappscott and Mr. Anthony Williams in their book Wikinomics, the world is changing and technology has linked humanity in a way as never before in human history. One needs to learn it and adapt to it or face the prospect of personal irrelevance.
It is true that the web with all of its social networking, sites blogging, and access to information that we are more socially different today then our parents ever thought possible. Our work environments have forever changed and one’s ability to quickly access and process information will make anyone a force to be reckoned with. No longer are tasks so much assigned as they are taken up by individuals. Where once major corporations held fast to proprietary technology and data that today is seeing individuals surpass the obstacles with open collaboration.
People are inextricably linked today and the trend can only go to more rather than less. For sure in my own mind I believe that people perhaps share more than they should in the social media. Perhaps that is the transitional development from an older generation to the transitional generation to the up and coming one. One group does not fully understand what happens when the send button is depressed or what does posting something really mean, or what does it mean to navigate a secure site. The other group’s familiarity with each little functional icon which has a life of its own and they think nothing of broadcasting their location on their phone so their friends can know that they are nearby and can meet for coffee. They give little thought to the thief that equally can see that they are no longer at home or in the vicinity. Or equally believe that their transactions online are as private or free of prying eyes and ears as a transaction done as a sole client at the store counter.
The electronic footprint that each of us leave as we navigate the web for whatever reason and for as benign a reason as we might think remains to be something that we all will need to contend with in time to come. What impact all of this technology will eventually have remains to be discovered and I think thankfully our governments, or at least not yet, will they be the architects to determine how it will all be used. As proof I offer the various sites that one can today navigate which will indicate the residence of convicted criminals or pedophiles. Certainly this is not something that any government social worker would openly wish to advertise in their never ending belief that they can be re-habilitated. Maybe they can, but I would wager it is information that every mother with small children for sure is glad to know. No longer can the slick talker in a fancy suit sell his snake oil to the informed consumer who can today with the help of the consumer advocate groups or individual blogger sites or chat lines, openly advertise a warning of their own experience. Will there be abuses of the system is without question and the old adage of buyer beware remains one of our best defenses. Today we can access more data to make up our own minds and perhaps sometime too much information can be just as disastrous.
I started my blog which naturally I wish had more followers, but I believe that it will come with time and as I learn to better advertise myself. It has allowed me to share with some at least thoughts and opinions and in some ways help me to reflect why people sometimes behave the way that they do. It has also caused to me to be more aware of my surroundings and to research and or read or listen more deeply to politicians, predominate social leaders or to be saddened by the banality of where some of our entertainment media has gone.
As a follow up to my first published article Investment, I wrote the matting update Investment a year later what dividends?, as a reflection one year later. Both can be downloaded by following the link or by choosing either one in my “Article” heading at the top of this blog.

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